Gunman in Florida shooting identified as former Anne Arundel teacher

A man identified by police as the gunman who killed two people Friday at a Tallahassee, Florida, yoga studio before killing himself was a former Anne Arundel County teacher.

Scott Paul Beierle taught at Meade High School in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years, county schools officials confirmed.

At a Saturday news conference, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said Beierle, 40, shot six people and pistol-whipped another at Hot Yoga Tallahassee just after 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The gunman, who was living in Deltona, Florida, then killed himself with his handgun, DeLeo said.

One of the dead, Maura Binkley, 21, was a Florida State University student. The other, Nancy Van Vessem, 61, was a Florida State professor.

Two people who were in the hospital were in stable condition, DeLeo said in a video posted to the agency’s Facebook page. Three had been released.

Police have not identified a motive, but are “continuing to follow up the investigative leads for (Beierle) and what made him come to our community and commit this heinous act here,” DeLeo said.

Beierle identified himself on social media as a former Anne Arundel teacher.

Bob Mosier, county schools spokesman, said personnel records show Beierle taught English and social studies. He resigned after the 2006-07 school year.

The shooting was the latest act of mass gun violence with connections to Anne Arundel County and Maryland.

Five people were killed on June 28, when a gunman stormed into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis.

Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters were killed in what police have said was an attack by a man with a vendetta against the news organization.

The gunman in an August shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, that left three people dead was from Baltimore, and four more people died in September at a Harford County Rite-Aid warehouse.

Earlier this year, a student at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland died when another student opened fire.

This shooting comes as Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, is in the final stretch of his campaign for governor against Republican Ron DeSantis.

Gillum took a short break from the campaign trail to meet with victims Friday evening but was back to his schedule of rallies Saturday, including one at the University of Central Florida.

At UCF, Gillum began his speech by asking the crowd to “focus (their) hearts and minds” on those recovering from the shooting in Tallahassee.

He said he received news of the shooting while at a synagogue in South Florida, honoring the 11 people killed last weekend in Pittsburgh. Gillum returned to his hometown late Friday to visit victims.

“This is certainly not the news expected in the final closing days of this race, but I want you to know that I am more agitated and activated more than I ever have been when it comes for the need for us to bring the power of the NRA to heel,” Gillum said.

Gun violence is “far too pervasive in our communities,” Gillum told reporters after the rally. Common sense gun reform is imperative, he said, and so is the need for discretion in “political rhetoric” that he said has led to recent violence. He pointed specifically to the Pittsburgh massacre and Cesar Sayoc, a staunch Trump supporter arrested and charged with mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and journalists.

Gillum and Republican Gov. Rick Scott visited victims in the hospital in Tallahassee on Friday night, a rare sign of nonpartisanship during a heated campaign season. Scott is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, and has criticized Gillum on the campaign trail.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Capital today! »

Staff writer Rick Hutzell and Orlando Sentinel reporters Tess Sheets and Gary Rohrer contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
43°